In response to what it called a desperate situation, Akel on Wednesday launched a Housing for All campaign that includes the creation of a unified housing agency.
“Our aim through this campaign is to put forward the convincing argument that feasible and affordable solutions exist and can be implemented as long as there is the political will [to do so],” party leader Stefanos Stefanou said presenting the proposals alongside the youth wing Edon.
He said the trying housing situation is being exacerbated by rising interest rates, soaring rents and difficulties in securing loans.
Many state services currently exist, but they are not coordinated or centralised enough, sometimes contradicting each other – leading to a patchwork and ineffective policy, he added.
Stefanou pointed to agencies such as the Cyprus Land Development Organisation (Κoag) as being promising but not achieving its full potential, in this case, because it is understaffed.
He also accused the previous government of not having a solid housing policy high on its list of priorities.
As for the costs, Stefanou said that any state social policy has a cost but argued that the cost of not acting now will be higher.
He further pointed to the gulf between interest and deposit rates at the banks as posing a major challenge to many. Stefanou highlighted that other countries, specifically Spain, have sought to tax the major profits being made by banks – the tax going towards social programmes.
The Cyprus Mail recently reported that rents are up by 50 per cent in some areas – not just Limassol where the problem is most acute – with some students in Nicosia now renting cheaper apartments in the north.
Experts and analysts of the sector have repeatedly stated that the factors pushing up housing and rent prices are likely to remain in the near future.